Show Your Desktop Friday used to be pretty popular in open source groups, but it’s popularity has declined in recent months.  Let’s fix that.


  • Desktop
    • Distribution: Xubuntu 17.04
    • Desktop Environment: Xfce
    • Window Manager: Xfwm4
    • Dock: Plank
  • Themes:
  • Fonts:
    • Default: Fira Sans Book 10 (GitHub, PPA)
    • Window Manager: Fira Sans SemiBold 10
    • Monospace: Ubuntu Mono (Launchpad)
  • Wallpaper: Convict Lake. Autumn View (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Clint Sharp)
  • Panel Plugins:
    • Whisker Menu (Homepage)
    • AppMenu Plugin (See WebUpd8 for details and PPA)
    • Notification Area
    • Power Manager Plugin
    • Indicator Plugin
    • Clock
    • Weather Update
    • System Load Monitor
    • Show Desktop


# Papirus Icon Theme PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:papirus/papirus

# Fira Fonts PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bluesabre/fonts

# WebUpd8 MATE PPA (Contains AppMenu plugin)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/mate

# Update Your Repositories...
sudo apt update

# ... And Install!
sudo apt install breeze-cursor-theme greybird-gtk-theme papirus-icon-theme fonts-fira-sans xfce4-vala-appmenu-plugin unity-gtk3-module unity-gtk2-module appmenu-qt appmenu-qt5

# Enable the AppMenu plugin
xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Gtk/ShellShowsMenubar -n -t bool -s true
xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Gtk/ShellShowsAppmenu -n -t bool -s true

# Restart, configure your panel, and tweak your settings in the settings manager

Tips & Tricks

  • Adwaita uses a white panel by default in Xfce. Use gtk-theme-config to make the panel dark again
  • With GTK+ 3, you can force applications to load with a dark theme by setting the GTK_THEME environment variable, for example: GTK_THEME=Adwaita:dark
  • You can take this one step further and use the CSD titlebars by setting the GTK_CSD environment variable, for example: GTK_CSD=1
  • If you want to use these variables in a launcher, fire up MenuLibre and prepend env GTK_CSD=1 GTK_THEME=Adwaita:dark to the executable line

Additional Screenshots


6 Replies to “My Xubuntu Customization Guide

  1. Interesting trick with the GTK_CSD=1 variable. It works in MATE too. Any reason not to set it for all apps, like in .profile?

    1. It can cause issues with some X-specific functionality. Like in the case for Parole, the X and XV video backends won’t display any video when started with GTK_CSD=1. There’s likely some other issues as well.

  2. Hey Sean. I’m sooo excited about the new xfce4-screensaver! Any chance that a future XFCE4/Xubuntu release can include an updated(more modern) theme and icon set? My current fav’s/recommends:

    1. xfwm4: Adwaita Revisited Light/Dark( which compliments the Adwaita GTK theme.

    2. xfce4-appearance-settings: Papirus icons( which seems to be much flatter and more modern as compared to Elementary.


    1. That’s definitely a cool looking theme. We’re open to suggestions, but the benefit of Greybird and elementary-xfce is that they are maintained by Xfce and Xubuntu members, meaning they will always have the best support for our desktop.

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